They Say Every Writer Has a Book Inside Them – This is Mine

Like most people who write for a living, I’ve long had a novel in mind. The bare bones of the plot have been fermenting in the background for years. But they’ve recently bloomed into something I think could be pretty special.
The strangest things deliver inspiration. The decision to actually make a start on a book comes thanks to a fairly acrimonious, long overdue email show-down with a badly behaved estranged parent who couldn’t find it in his heart to apologise. It’s proof that even darkish clouds have silver linings, that there’s a positive to balance every downer.
I have every single letter I wrote to my parents between 1982 and the present day, hundreds of the buggers given to me by my mum, who couldn’t bear to throw them away. To add to that I have a collection of my old schoolbooks, from infants to sixth form, also given to me by my mum. Plus a load of poems, prose and short stories I’ve written over the years, and a large collection of funny overheard snippets of conversation that I collected and made into an ebook.
Sometimes real life family stories are so bizarre, so off-the-wall it’s hard to believe they’re true. I have a huge stock of them to fictionalise, including one about a distant ancestor Shite-On-You-Polly‘s husband, a drunk who ‘borrowed’ a tame bear from the funfair in Northallerton during the late 1800s and brought it home on a lead. And another about a distant relative who spent his working life mining in Bulawayo, returning home to Yorkshire every few years to impregnate his wife. His final stint in Africa was so long that the son he’d sired on his last visit had grown up, gone to fight in World War One and been killed, never having met his father. And there was Great Aunt Annie who was massively, enormously fat, could only manage to eat with specially-made cutlery and had a temper so terrifying it was feared for miles around. Honestly, you couldn’t make this stuff up!
Roll all these disparate resources together and I have the basis for a novel arranged by decade, starting off in the early 1960s and running to the present day. I’m slowly putting together a list of stories to include. I need to pay someone to type up my collection of family letters, then I’ll be ready to start writing.
The end result, of course, could well be a load of utter crap! But it’s one of those things that if I didn’t try, I’d regret…

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